DETROIT - The Canadiens began their longest road trip of the season exactly the way they wanted to on Saturday night, picking up a big win at Joe Louis Arena.
After Brendan Gallagher tied things up at one with 8:55 remaining in regulation time, it was Alex Galchenyuk who came through in overtime with his team-leading ninth goal of the year to lift Michel Therrien's troops to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the Motor City.
Video: MTL@DET: Galchenyuk nets Radulov's feed for OT winner
Carey Price, meanwhile, stopped 32 of 33 shots against en route to upping his record to 13-1-1 on the season.
While it was anything but an easy victory as both teams played scoreless hockey into the early part of the third period until Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader broke the ice, the Canadiens found a way to rally and get the job done in their first of five straight games away from the friendly confines of the Bell Centre.
"The coaches said before the game, and we all knew, that it was going to be an important game. It's a big road trip for us, and we want to make sure that we find a way to win the first one. We started on the right track," said Galchenyuk, who capped a 2-on-1 with Alexander Radulov in the extra frame with the decisive tally just 70 seconds after the Canadiens killed off a Shea Weber penalty and returned to even-strength.
Video: Alex Galchenyuk on the game-winning goal in OT
"It was like a roller coaster game. We had chances. They had chances. They had a power play. We had a power play. It was weird going into the third 0-0, but they scored and we stuck to it. We knew that we'd find a way to score, and then Gally had a goal for us and then a couple of great saves in overtime. It was a huge character win," added the Canadiens' top point-getter, who now boasts 22 points in 22 games.
Gallagher's goal, meanwhile, was his fifth of the season and his first since October 24 - a span of 15 games.
Goal scoring aside, Canadiens forwards and defensemen alike were quick to point to a series of clutch Price saves in the latter stages of the game as the real difference-maker that gave the Canadiens a chance to pull out their 16th win of the season before flying out to Southern California on Sunday afternoon.
"He's solid for us, and obviously a big reason why we're so successful," praised Weber, who picked up the secondary assist on Galchenyuk's game-winning goal.
Video: MTL@DET: Price makes upper-body save, denies rebound
Now, the likes of Western Conference powerhouses Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles await as the Canadiens look to assert themselves on the other side of the country, before wrapping things up in St. Louis on December 6. They'll travel to the Golden State, though, as the top team in the league, and they have every reason to be confident in their game.
"It's a big win, especially with this being a long trip coming up for us. There are some tough teams we're going to play out west, so it was big to get the division points," said Weber. "We had a good start [against Detroit], kind of slowed down a bit in the second, but found a way to get it done."
Video: Shea Weber on the importance of Saturday night's win
And, as everyone knows, that's all that really matters in the end.
"You want to start off on the right foot and go get a win," concluded Therrien. "A big challenge is waiting for us, so it was important to get this victory."